Pacific Climate Change Conference turns words into action
Victoria University of Wellington
The fight to build a more resilient Pacific in the face of climate change has taken a major step forward with the official partnering between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Victoria University of Wellington yesterday.
Victoria University Provost Wendy Larner and SPREP Director General Leota Kosi Latu signed a Memorandum of Understanding, marking the end of the University’s successful three-day Pacific Climate Change Conference.
The agreement will see the two organisations working together towards environmental protection and sustainable development in the Pacific.
The Memorandum creates a framework in which the University and SPREP can co-operate on activities of mutual interest such as coral research, climate change research, and enhancing biosecurity.
Professor Larner described signing the Memorandum as an historic occasion. “Something really powerful is beginning,” she says.
“The University has a long-held role in the Pacific and recognises we must work hand-in-hand with our Pacific neighbours if we are serious about facing the issues arising from global warming. This is a major step in thinking about how we might work more effectively across the Pacific.”
She said while the science on climate change is clear, the hard part now is translating science through institutions into policies and initiatives that have a meaningful impact on the communities.
Leota Kosi Latu says he’s looking forward to implementing some concrete initiatives.
The Memorandum provides a platform to “translate the dialogue we have heard over the last three days [at the conference] into action. The talking is done, now is the time for action”.
“It is an honour for SPREP to participate in this signing today. We look forward to the full benefits of this partnership reaching through to our members and our island nations as we strive to strengthen the resilience of our Pacific environment,” he says.
Victoria University is the first New Zealand university to sign an MoU with SPREP.
SREP is an intergovernmental organisation with 26 member countries from the Pacific that promotes regional co-operation and provides assistance for the protection and improvement of the environment, and advance sustainable development for future generations.